Macclesfield 35-31 Cinderford

A second half revival which saw Blues score 24 unanswered points sealed a 35-31 victory over Cinderford for a first win in seven outings.

A pair of tries from Franky Barker either side of half time, and further scores from Josh Fowles, Charlie Mulchrone and Ryan Parkinson sealed a bonus point for a 19th time this season.

Director of rugby and Head Coach Geoff Wappett was in high spirits as his side completed a deserved double over their opponents.

He said: “There were plenty of indicators in the first half that we could beat these guys and we managed it.

“We stopped making the silly errors and the mistakes we made first half we learnt from and didn’t repeat in the second half.

“We conceded a couple of soft tries from set pieces which wasn’t very clever but we learnt from that.”

Blues started the match brightly and opened the scoring just four minutes in, Captain Tom Eaton slotting a routine penalty after just four minutes.

The home side were looking strong and lively but Cinderford hit back with a try through Navarro Codlin; the first of two for the speedy wide man.

Blues responded brilliantly though and were moving the ball forward with ease, Barker finishing off a superb move in the corner for the first of his two scores in the match.

The whistle of referee Tom Davies was not the friend of the visitors as they were being found to be on the wrong side of the decisions, allowing Blues to dominate.

Despite having the upper hand, Macc were unable to make it count on the scoreboard, and were punished as two tries in five minutes shot the visitors into an eleven point lead.

Eaton’s second penalty cut that deficit to eight before a fourth try of the half for Cinderford made it 24-11 at the break.

Blues rallied after the interval and began the second half brightly, looking to exert some pressure on the west-country opponents, and it paid off as Mulchrone collected the ball at the back of an attacking scrum and offload to Barker who had made a looping run, before touching down right of the posts.

The atmosphere was fierce and it began to get heated when an altercation broke out, leading to both sides losing a player to the sin-bin.

This didn’t halt Blues’ comeback as Mulchrone went from supplier to scorer a minute later, combining well with Edd Stobart to burst through a pair of tackles to score well.

Matt O’Regan looked lively throughout while starting at full-back and almost created a lead for Blues, but his offload to Stobart was lost just metres short.

Cinderford threw everything at the home side as they looked to restore what was once quite a healty lead, but Macc’s defence continued to hold firm despite problems with their scrummaging.

Blues’ patience paid off as they turned defence into attack to take the lead and seal a bonus point; replacement hooker Dave Blackwell surging down the middle of the pitch before playing in Josh Fowles for the score, which was converted soon after by Eaton.

Cinderford looked a broken side and the result was put beyond doubt when Ryan Parkinson crossed to give his side an unassailable 11 point lead with just minutes remaining.

Blues’ problems in the front-row continued, after collapsing a drive involuntarily to concede a penalty try, which only served as a consolation for the Gloucestershire based side.

The win means Blues cannot finish any lower than sixth and a win next week, as well as results going their way could see Geoff Wappett’s men up to fifth in National One.

He added: “We were far more patient on the most part today.

“Edd (Stobart) could have had a try but had a rush of blood, offloaded to no-one and we lost the ball, had we rucked that ball we could have scored but we learnt from that.

“We will go to Wharfedale on Saturday with fifth place in the league in our reach so that remains our focus and in that sense we have plenty to play for.”

 

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